Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2010 schedule. We start at the end with North Texas.
The opponent isn’t a member of the Big 12 Conference, the game is on the road and it will be played the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Nothing about this matchup is ordinary.
Nonetheless, it is the final game of Kansas State’s football season. So the Wildcats will head to Denton, Texas to play in a game with possible bowl implications on the line in a stadium that seats 30,500.
By then, the Wildcats could be tired of road games. They start the season with four games at Snyder Family Stadium and one in Kansas City, but end with trips to Missouri, Colorado and North Texas.
They could find relief in Denton, though. The Dallas metroplex is one of K-State’s largest alumni bases, and the Mean Green are expected to be one of the worst teams in the nation.
The Wildcats have certainly had success against North Texas lately. In 2000, 2005 and 2008 they crushed the Mean Green by a combined score of 154-23.
Todd Dodge, the once legendary high school coach and master of the spread offense, is struggling with the Mean Green. His job could very well be on the line this season.
Hurting matters, arm injuries forced his son (Riley) to move from quarterback to wide receiver — meaning Dodge will have to break in a new signal-caller in 2010.
The offense will likely remain wide open, but the Mean Green will do a good amount of damage on the ground. Junior running back Lance Dunbar is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,378 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He could be the Daniel Thomas of the Sun Belt Conference.
But scoring has never been North Texas’ biggest problem. The Mean Green were in several games last year, but lost five of them by annoyingly close margins because of poor defensive plays.
In the past three seasons, North Texas has ranked no better than 112th nationally in scoring defense.
Slowing down Thomas will be a lot for Dodge to ask. But North Texas could have extra motivation. It will be its final game at Fouts Field. Starting next season, the Mean Green move into this beauty.
Everything else you need to know about this game:
When: Nov. 27
Where: Denton, Texas
North Texas in 2009: 2-10 overall, 1-7 Sun Belt
North Texas schedule: at Clemson, Rice, at Army, at Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, Florida International, at Western Kentucky, Troy, at Middle Tennessee State, at Louisiana-Monroe, Kansas State
Series Record: K-State leads 4-1 and has won four straight
Other Factoids: This will be the Wildcats’ first trip to Denton. K-State traveled to Louisiana-Lafayette (another Sun Belt school) for a game last year and dropped a 17-15 heartbreaker. The K-State basketball team defeated North Texas in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. K-State coach Bill Snyder admitted during a news conference following last year’s football season was over that this game might not be played. Instead, it was moved to the end of the schedule.